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GambleAware calls for end to gambling harms stigma with new campaign

GambleAware calls for end to gambling harms stigma with new campaign

GambleAware reveals new research showing 75% of people experiencing gambling problems feel they can’t open up to loved ones

  • New data reveal three quarters (75%) of those experiencing problems with gambling feel they can’t talk to loved ones about it, with stigma being the biggest barrier preventing people from opening up
  • Research also showed 1 in 4 of us think we know someone who has experienced problems with their gambling, with data showing three in five (61%) are put off talking to them about it due to concerns around stigma
  • People affected by gambling harm can experience a wide range of problems, including mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, breakdown of relationships, and financial struggles
  • To encourage more people affected to seek support and open up about their gambling, the charity GambleAware has launched a national public health campaign to challenge perceptions of gambling harms
  • The campaign is backed by a broad coalition of organisations including Citizens Advice, and notable figures like Dr. Ellie Cannon and presenter Tyler West, whose brother experienced harm from gambling

Thursday 13th April: Persistent stigma surrounding gambling harms is preventing the vast majority of those experiencing gambling problems from opening up, the charity GambleAware has warned. New data suggest that three quarters (75%) of those who experience problems with gambling do not feel able to open up to family and friends. In addition, a quarter of adults (23%) state they think they know someone who has experienced problems with gambling. Data also shows how three in five (61%) are put off speaking to those experiencing gambling harms about it due to concerns around stigma.

Gambling harms – or the negative consequences of gambling – are a complex public health issue. To address this, GambleAware has launched a major new public health campaign to reduce stigma associated with gambling harms by seeking to change societal perceptions and understanding of the issue. The campaign has been co-created with people with lived experience of gambling harms, putting their experiences at the heart of the campaign.

Zoë Osmond, Chief Executive of GambleAware, said: “Gambling harms are hidden and complex in nature. For many people who experience gambling harm, feelings of shame and embarrassment can often mean they struggle to talk about the issue with loved ones. Gambling harms can affect anyone, which is why it is so important that we break down the stigma associated with it and encourage people to come forward and talk about gambling harm. It’s about time we put an end to stigma and opened up the conversation about gambling.”

With data highlighting the role stigma plays, GambleAware commissioned further research into attitudes and perceptions surrounding gambling harms. Results showed over three in five (62%) agree people negatively judge those experiencing gambling harms, whilst more than half (56%) agree that it is important to challenge the stigma around gambling harms.

Dr Dame Clare Gerada, President, Royal College of GPs said: “Gambling harms are a serious public health issue and can affect anyone. They can manifest in various ways, including mental or physical health issues. General practitioners and the wider health sector can play a crucial role in addressing the issue of gambling harms, by supporting those who experience the harm directly. This campaign is an important step to encourage people and those in the sector to open up the conversation and signpost towards the lifesaving tools and advice that are available.”

Dr Ellie Cannon said: As a GP, I’ve worked with patients who are seeking support for gambling harms, so I understand how they can manifest for an individual in incredibly challenging ways, not dissimilar from other conditions such as alcohol or drug misuse. With stigma preventing so many vulnerable people from seeking support, it is time for society to challenge its outdated attitude towards gambling harms and those who experience them”.

In a bid to open up the conversation around gambling harms, GambleAware has partnered with TV and radio presenter, Tyler West, whose brother experienced gambling harms for several years which impacted his relationships with loved ones. West met with a number of other people who have been impacted by gambling harms to find out more about the  impact that stigma has on those who experience harm, and how they eventually opened up about it. The film features Stacey Goodwin and Martin Paterson who shared their first-hand experiences, alongside stigma expert, Associate Professor from Wolverhampton University, Dr Joanne Lloyd.

Tyler West said: “Meeting others who have been impacted by gambling harms, like my brother was, has really opened my eyes to the stigma attached to an issue that is very close to my heart and how common it is. We need to do something about this. After experiencing the impact gambling harms can have on  someone I can see how important it is for people to feel comfortable to speak up and ask for help if they’re struggling. It’s vital that we all do more to change the dialogue around gambling and address how society sees people who experience gambling harms.”

Tackling the stigma associated with gambling harms requires a whole system approach, working in partnership with others. As part of the campaign GambleAware is also bringing together a coalition of trusted organisations from the private, third and public sector who share a common purpose to prevent gambling harm.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said: “While gambling harms can affect anyone, people on lower incomes and people living in more deprived communities are disproportionately at risk. That’s why we're working with GambleAware to help reduce the stigma of gambling and support people and communities with the greatest need.”

If you’re worried about how gambling makes you feel, we can help. For free and confidential advice, tools and support, search GambleAware or contact the National Gambling Helpline, available 24/7, on 0808 8020 133.

Leading stigma expert, Dr Joanne Lloyd, who met individuals impacted by gambling harms with Tyler said: “Opening up a dialogue is often the first step towards getting help. We know that stigma represents one of the main barrier preventing people experiencing harm from reaching out for support, and so it is essential that we take collective action to tackle this societal issue.”


For more information, or to request an interview with campaign spokespeople, please contact  



For any additional information related to stigma and gambling, see link here.


  1. A research synopsis summarising all data and evidence used to support the stigma campaign is available on GambleAware’s website.
  2. GambleAware Treatment and Support Survey 2022/23 will be available in May 2023. The 2021/22 Report is available online.
  3. Ipsos Mori conducted an online survey and is available online.